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President Blasts Raid on His Lawyer's Office; How Will Trump Respond to Syria Attack?; Zuckerberg Testifies Today on Capitol Hill; Cosby Trial Bombshell. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired April 10, 2018 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: It looks like that Black Lives Matter page run by, you know, a white guy in Australia.

[05:00:03] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: The hits just keep on coming. And yet, one more thing for Zuckerberg to get asked about today on the Hill.

ROMANS: Guess what, what you see on Facebook is not always real, everybody.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, EARLY START continues right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why don't I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens.


MARQUARDT: President Trump publicly considers firing the special counsel after an FBI raid on the office of his personal attorney Michael Cohen.


TRUMP: It will be met and it will be met forcefully.


ROMANS: An angry president also facing a critical test on another front -- how to respond to a chemical attack that killed dozens in Syria.

MARQUART: And Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg expected to take the blame for the company's recent data scandal when he is grilled by lawmakers just hours from now on Capitol Hill.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alex Marquardt.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, April 10th, 5:00 a.m. in the East, 5:00 p.m. in Beijing, noon in Beirut. We're going to have reports from all of those cities in just a moment.

But, first, this morning we are waiting to see which action the president will take after the FBI raid of the home and office of the long-time attorney Michael Cohen. FBI agents acting on a search warrant from the referral from Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation to the U.S. attorney here in New York City.

Now, the president's anger was on full display in the cabinet room.


TRUMP: Why don't I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens. But I think it's really a sad situation when you look at what happened.

And many people have said, you should fire him. Again, they found nothing and in finding nothing, that's a big statement to have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now, and actually much more than that. You could say it was right after I won the nomination it started.

And it's a disgrace. It's frankly, a real disgrace. It's an attack on our country in a true sense. It's an attack on what we all stand for.


ROMANS: The extraordinary raid on the president's lawyer with its implications of attorney/client privilege would have to be approved by top officials at the Justice Department, likely including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The president yesterday renewed his attacks on Rosenstein and his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as our Gloria Borger reports.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Christine and Alex, these raids were really extraordinary. About a dozen FBI agents searched multiple locations, including Michael Cohen's office and a hotel room where he had been staying.

A source tells me the raids were largely about the payment Cohen made to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election. But also concerned election laws, as well as smaller Cohen personal investments. This all came as result of the special counsel's office referring an investigation to prosecutors in New York, and that's according to Michael Cohen's attorney.

We know that the bank red-flagged Cohen's $130,000 payment to Daniels last October and the warrant involved the payment to the porn star, Cohen's communications with the president and campaign. As a result, it's likely Cohen's computer, his phone and his personal financial records were a part of the search.

Cohen's attorney, Stephen Ryan, called the raids, quote, completely inappropriate and unnecessary. And people close to the president say he sees this as a special counsel's office really crossing a red line and he is furious with the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, right now, maybe more than the special counsel Bob Mueller.

So, what does this mean for their futures? Only the president knows.

Gloria Borger, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: Thank you, Gloria, for that.

MARQUARDT: All right. Thanks, Gloria.

And now, joining us this morning is CNN politics reporter Saba Hamedy live in Washington.

Good morning, Saba.

ROMANS: Good morning.


ROMANS: You're welcome.

MARQUARDT: Of course, welcome.

So, the president has famously said that investigating his family could be a red line. Let's just listen to a quick sound bite from him.


SCHMIDT: If Mueller was looking at your finances or your family's finances unrelated to Russia. Is that a red line?

HABERMAN: Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?

TRUMP: I would say yes, yes. I would say yes.


MARQUARDT: So aside from his children, is there anyone that the FBI could have raided and risked infuriating the president more than Michael Cohen? It doesn't cross the read red line of investigating the family, but it comes pretty close to it.

HAMEDY: Sure. I mean, and we've had our own CNN reporting. I believe CNN's Kevin Liptak last night reported that Michael Cohen is in fact, you know, close to family -- the close thing to family that Trump has or he considers, you know, that close.

[05:05:07] So, I think it definitely might not be the red line crossing, but certainly, definitely going to make the president angry and frustrated because he is very close with Cohen. He knows all his secrets and he has been there in his circle for a long time now.

ROMANS: You know, it's interesting. Yesterday, he's like facing this very delicate and dangerous situation in Syria and he's also talking about this raid on his lawyer's office. You could see how angry the president was, I mean, really angry.

MARQUARDT: He was surrounded by, well, John Bolton on the first day on the job, General Mattis. This was a meeting about Syria. And that all but was ignored in the meeting.

ROMANS: Yes, in a brief moment, right.

MARQUARDT: And the president goes off, calling this disgraceful, it was attack on America.

ROMANS: An attack on America. He also said this is orchestrated by Democrats -- Democrats who are out to get him. This is about the Democrats. Listen.


TRUMP: Democrats all or just about all, either Democrats or a couple of Republicans that worked for President Obama, they're not looking at the other side.

PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: The Southern District of New York, this attorney's office, which I used to lead, are all people who are Republican and all people who have basically been hand-picked by Donald Trump.


ROMANS: That's the president and then Preet Bharara talking about no, when you look at the FBI, the makeup of the FBI and this particular case. These are -- these are law and order Republicans who are facing the president.

This is a Democrat trying to get me. Does that fly?

HAMEDY: You know, honestly, this isn't the first time or the last time that the president will blame the Democrats for something, especially when it comes to the FBI probe into Russian meddling. As we know before, he is not scared of calling out anybody, let alone Democrats or the FBI. And, you know, his favorite term is witch hunt, you know? And I think he used that yesterday as well. And I think he's just going to continue to use that rhetoric.

ROMANS: All right. Saba Hamedy, come back in a half hour. We've got a lot to talk about this morning.

I guess one question from yesterday from the remarkable before the cabinet meeting, can he compartmentalize the Syria response and his anger over what's happening in terms of the Russia investigation and this raid -- this FBI raid of his attorney.

MARQUARDT: And I think one of the most important points we need to know about this FBI raid was that it was orchestrated by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. This was referred by the special counsel. This is not necessarily part of the Russia probe. This is separate and we don't know for sure what the FBI agents were targeting. There's been some reporting about wire fraud and bank fraud, that remains to be seen.

Now, there has been tough talk from President Trump in the wake of the latest deadly chemical attack against civilians in Syria. The president says he will decide on the U.S. response quickly and he claims it will be very tough whether it involves Russia, Syria, Iran or all three.


TRUMP: We are studying that situation extremely closely. We are meeting with our military and everybody else and we'll be making some major decisions over the next 24 to 48 hours. We are very concerned when a thing like that can happen.

This is about humanity. We are talking about humanity. It can't be allowed to happen.


MARQUARDT: Russia and Syria are vehemently denying any involvement in the attack, claiming that rebel forces in the region fabricated it.

CNN's Ben Wedeman tracking the latest developments from Beirut.

Ben, the president clearly still deliberating, but it would not be the first time that he has struck Syria. In fact, the U.S. hit a Syrian base last year after a chemical attack. So, the Assad regime must be bracing for another possible attack from the U.S.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, Alex. If you listen to the rhetoric coming out of the administration in Washington, it certainly does send all of the signals that something will be coming soon. And the question is, is it going to be like last year's cruise missile strike on the air base in central Syria with 59 cruise missiles which didn't seem to actually have much impact on the course of events on the ground given that we're seeing what appears to be an alleged chemical attack in Damascus or outside Damascus over the weekend.

And we know that they are consulting with the French and British about some sort of joint action. We did hear, for instance, the American ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley using some undiplomatic language, the debate there, when describing Syrian President Bashar al Assad.


[05:10:00] NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Only a monster does this. Only a monster targets civilians and then ensures that there are no ambulances to transfer the wounded. No hospitals to save their lives. No doctors or medicine to ease their pain. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: And certainly, this attack, this alleged attack over the weekend, has refocused Washington's attention on Syria. But by and large, that's the exception to the rule. We have seen since the outbreak of the uprising in Syria in 2011, almost half a million people getting killed and it's only events like this that reminds those in Washington, otherwise distracted by other events, there is a long-running bloodbath under way in Syria -- Alex.

MARQUARDT: We should note, there was an air strike in the wake of this chemical attack, but it appears it was unrelated. It looks like it was Israel striking Iranian assets and that the timing was just a coincidental.

Ben Wedeman in Beirut, thanks very much.

ROMANS: All right. Back here, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a message for Congress: It's my fault.

Zuckerberg will testify on Capitol Hill today and according to prepared remarks, he will take the blame for Facebook's failure to protect user data and laying out steps to prevent it from happening again. Zuckerberg will tell lawmakers: It's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm. That goes for fake news, foreign interference of elections and hate speech.

This week, Zuckerberg faces questions from two congressional panels about how Facebook handles user data. But the hearings will likely address broader concerns about Facebook, too, including its role in spreading misinformation and election meddling. Zuckerberg's testimony continues and apology tour for Facebook's most recent crisis.

It allowed a firm with ties to the Trump campaign to access the info of 87 million users without their consent. The majority, more than 70 million within the U.S. That has angered users, advertisers and investors.

Facebook has lost tens of billions of dollars in market value since the crisis began. In part because the theory here on Wall Street is that they're going to be regulated and they're going to be regulated in a way that's going to prevent them from making so much money off of your information.

MARQUARDT: He's reportedly getting a lot of coaching for today's appearance. He's going to have to prostrate himself --

ROMANS: He's going to need it.

MARQUARDT: -- before the committee.


MARQUARDT: All right. Well, breaking overnight, the deadly crash of the small plane on to an Arizona golf course. The latest straight ahead.

ROMANS: And details of a secret settlement revealed for the first time at the Bill Cosby trial.


[05:16:43] MARQUARDT: Welcome back.

We are following a breaking story out of Arizona. At least six people have died after the small plane crashed on the golf course in Scottsdale. It erupted into flames. Look at those pictures there. More than a half dozen emergency vehicles responded.

According to the FAA, the plane went after taking off from nearby Scottsdale airport. At this point, it's unclear what caused the crash.

ROMANS: A bombshell to open the Bill Cosby retrial. Prosecutors revealing the entertainer paid $3.4 million settlement to accuser Andrea Constand in 2006 after allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting her.

In a matter of hours, Cosby's legal team will have a chance to respond.

We get more this morning from CNN's Jean Casarez. She is in Norristown, Pennsylvania.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Alex, the defense is set to have their opening statements this morning when court convenes around 9:00.

But yesterday afternoon, it was all about the commonwealth. Their theme was trust. And the betrayal of trust that Andrea Constand was given three blue pills, three little friends Bill Cosby told her that would help her relax and following that, she was drugged, they asserted. Bill Cosby, having to help her to a sofa, saying that he then sexually assaulted her.

Also, the prosecution told the jury you will hear evidence about the civil confidential settlement between Bill Cosby and Andrea Constand in 2006. For the first time, the jury and America was told the actual amount of that settlement, $3.38 million. That was given to Andrea Constand.

But there were qualifications, that the facts, the allegations, the information learned during the pendency of that civil suit would never been made public. And Bill Cosby admitted no guilt whatsoever.

Finally, the prosecution talked about mistake, absence of accident, plan and scheme, talking about the other women who would take the stand to say me too. I also was drugged and assaulted by Bill Cosby. It was very vague, but then the prosecution went back to Andrea Constand. With her, it was no mistake. You will see when she takes the stand. You will hear from Andrea Constand -- Alex and Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Thanks for that, Jean.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, there was no joy in Wrigleyville as the Cubby's home opener was snowed out.

ROMANS: No way.

MARQUARDT: It was Chicago after all.

But on the Chicago South Side, the legendary Sodfather took his game up a notch. Coy Wire with details on the "Bleacher Report", that's coming up next.


[05:23:32] MARQUARDT: Welcome back.

LeBron James still plays for Cleveland, but after last night's game here in New York, he is declaring himself the king of New York. But not everyone agreed.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Coy.


It's an event every time LeBron and the Cavs hit the road and it's even bigger deal when he visits New York City. And Knicks fans, they want him to bring his talent to Madison Square Garden at some point in the future full-time. There is a billboard saying king of New York? Prove it.

Last night, King James let his shoes do the talking. "I'm king" written across the back. A jab pointing at Knicks center Enes Kanter who had this to say last November.


ENES KANTER, NEW YORK KNICKS CENTER: I don't care who you are, king -- what you call yourself, king, queen, princess, whatever you are. You know what? We're going to fight. And nobody out there going to punk us.


REPORTER: You can call yourself a king, queen or princess, you're not going to punk us.

JAMES: Well, I'm the king, my wife is the queen and my daughter is the princess. So, we've got all three covered.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WIRE: All that talking going on off the court, fans and even masters champ Patrick Reed in the fancy new green jacket wanted to see what would happen on the floor. He was there. Some were sitting court side. And I know we are showing you the shoes again.

But on the court, it was the King James reigning supreme, getting his 50th game of the season with the win, capturing the fourth Central Division title. LeBron James is the only player in NBA to win ten straight division titles. Long live the king.

All right. The playoffs without Coach Rick Popovich, San Antonio Spurs will be like a ring without a hand.

[05:25:05] The longest active playoff streak of any franchise in the four major pro-sports leagues, facing the Kings last night though, that streak on the line. Injuries plaguing the team. Using their 25th different starting lineup of the season.

Manu Ginobili led the way. Just two games remaining, the Spurs trying to clinch the playoff berth for the 21st consecutive season. For some perspective on how just dominant they have been, if you look at some of the other pro-sports leagues in their streaks, the Patriots, they have nine seasons and counting making playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins, they're at 12 and they are the next closest to the Spurs.

My goodness, they absolutely roll.

Now, snow covered the city of Chicago yesterday which posed a problem for the home town Cubs scheduled for home games. The boys from Florida making the best of the weather. Tampa Bay Rays Sergio Romo took batting practice with snowballs.

The MVP of the day, though, White Sox grounding keeper Roger Bossard. Using lawnmower, is team removed 200 tons of snow. You would never know it came down in the stadium. He is nicknamed the Sodfather because he has been taking care of the Sox field for 52 years. Florida boys won that 5-4.

Now, just 10 miles away at Wrigley Field? A totally different story. Opening day turning to snow-pening day. No way they were going to play on this one. We will see if they can go on today.

Chicago, Christine, you know a little bit about that city.


ROMANS: Oh, yes, oh, yes. I have been in that. Yes, oh, man, it's just -- you got to grin and bear it because Chicago. The summer is great from July to August. And then winter comes back.

MARQUARDT: Not getting a spring memo.

WIRE: You've got that little window and you really enjoy it. But that certainly was not baseball weather the way we know it.

ROMANS: Thank you. Very nice to see you. MARQUARDT: Thanks, Coy.

ROMANS: President Trump said to be angry and furious after FBI agents raided the home of his personal attorney Michael Cohen. We've all those details next.